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Editor’s Note: The testimony below and images below were provided by an SGA team member in Israel.

There are so many reasons why it is so important to minister to youth. In the story below you will read the words from an SGA team member in Israel. Angelina will be sharing with us more about the culture of Israel and how God is at work all across that land. Angelina is the daughter of SGA’s director of Bible training in Israel. Angelina is now working at Israel College of the Bible. SGA has supported this family and their ministry for over 25 years now. 

In the last paragraph of this story, Angelina states, “Before joining the IDF, a young person must go through a Spiritual Bootcamp.”Having served in the Israeli Defense Force herself, she understands the importance of ministering to youth in their early years, so that they are prepared for the days in which they begin to see and live in the ways of the world

Please pray for all youth ministries, as they are such an important part of preparing hearts for the future and hope in God.  

From Angelina . . .

Artyom and his family moved to Israel in 2012. They moved from Central Asia where he was very active in youth ministry. Artyom and his family became members of a Russian-speaking church. There, Artyom and his wife saw a great need for ministry and began to actively participate in their new church using the gifts that God had given to them. Artyom began youth ministry, while his wife Natasha was actively involved in music ministry. Artyom says: 

“When I started a youth ministry, in the very beginning there were only about five people. We would regularly gather once or twice a week and study the Word of God. Right now, we have around 15 people. Also, we organize camps where youth and teenagers come closer and get to know each other better, and where they can find out what they are like in everyday life.  We can meet in the middle of the week and discuss the questions that have arisen, or they can call me any time to communicate. Young people have a lot of questions, and they are in a big need of someone who can give them an answer.  From time to time, we go hiking in Masada with the youth where they can practically demonstrate their Christianity. 

Why did I decide to do this ministry? Once God revealed to me that our life is like a river, it has a beginning, and it has an end. Floating this river, a person encounters a lot of sin and depravity. I try to fish people out of the river of sin precisely in youth and adolescence when Satan especially works with a person’s heart. During young age, people have a lot of depravity and lust. So God put this desire on my heart to help young people and show them the path that leads to salvation.  

Ministering to the youth I understand that not only I teach them, but they also teach me a lot of important things. We grow together. They teach me patience, forbearance, and to have and to love more. I am pointing them to Christ, but they are the ones who make the choice. I see how God is working in those young people’s lives as well as in lives of their household. Their thinking and goals in life are being changed. Many of them dedicate their lives to God. 

For example, once we had a visitor, a Russian-speaking Israeli soldier who knew nothing about God. None of his family members or friends were believers. Later, he asked for a Bible. I gave him a Bible and he began to study it. One day he comes up to me and says, “Can you give me two more Bibles?” I did not understand why he needed two more Bibles, so I asked him “Why do you need two Bibles? What happened to your Bible, did you lose it?” and he said, “No, it’s for my family.” This situation encouraged me and let me know that I was doing the right thing, there was a sense in what I was doing. Sometimes I get discouraged and tired in this ministry, but through such moments God gives strength. I see youth changing through this ministry.

Personally, I (Angelina) can say that one of the reasons why youth ministry is very important in Israel is because of their upcoming military service. Many people know that all boys and girls are required to join the military after they graduate high school. Guys serve for two years and eight months, and girls serve for two years.

When young people go into the army, many walk away from God. Most likely they will be the only Christians on their base, and they won’t have any encouragement. For example, I was the only Christian on my base for two years. It was a different environment. Praise God I have a Christian family and a solid church who were my encouragement, but not every believing soldier has the same situation. Some of them are the only believers in Jesus in their families and they don’t get that encouragement in the Lord. So, after some time being in the IDF (Israeli Defense Force) they give up and walk away.

Therefore, it is very important to study the Bible with youth and teenagers before they enter the military. I like to say, “Before joining the IDF, a young person must go through a Spiritual Bootcamp.” Ministry with youth and teenagers is very important in Israel, especially before they join the IDF. 

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